Thursday, March 31, 2016

Wednesday's tweets: Abigail Adams, Warsaw Pact, racial slur against Obama in Cuba's media




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1889: The Eiffel Tower opened to the public




The legendary Eiffel Tower of Paris opened to the public on this day in 1889.   It is one of the many landmarks of this great city.    We remember Paul Mauriat, one of the great French pianists, and a # 1 song in Billboard USA:


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RIP Ronnie Corbett (1931-2016) "The Two Ronnies"



Like some of you, I got hooked on "The two Ronnies", the hilarious British duo.   They made me laugh a lot.    RIP Ronnie Corbett!    Ronnie Barker, his partner, died in 2005.


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Argentina’s President Macri scores again



Messi is the fútbol player from Argentina who plays for Barcelona, one of the world’s greatest fútbolistas and teams.   
Macri is President Macri, the center-right president, elected in early December.  
It is Macri who is dominating the front pages lately.
Yesterday, President Macri proved that he is on the right track.  He shut down the government’s support for Telesur:
The pro-business administration of Argentina’s president, Mauricio Macri, will cut its funding of a regional television network started by the Venezuelan government in 2005.
The country is pulling out of Telesur, a self-styled leftist alternative to mainstream media, because of a lack of “pluralism” and being shut out of financial decisions, the Communications Ministry in Argentina said. “Argentina was a partner prohibited from sharing our view,” Hermann Lombardi, the communications minister, said in a radio interview. Telesur was a pet project of Hugo Chávez, the former Venezuelan president, who envisioned a strong socialist voice to counteract what he perceived as unbalanced news coverage from major broadcasters like CNN’s Spanish service.
In addition to Venezuela, sponsor countries include Bolivia, Cuba, Ecuador and Nicaragua.
Relations between Argentina and Venezuela have deteriorated since Mr. Macri’s center-right government took office in December 2015. His predecessor, Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, had maintained strong bonds with Mr. Chavez.
Hooray for President Macri!  
For years, the late Chávez had funded leftists activists like Telesur.    President Macri is pulling Argentina out because of a lack of “pluralism.”  In other words, Telesur was nothing but a mouthpiece for the Latin American left.   
This is why President Obama was correct in traveling to Argentina and showing support for President Macri.  We understand that the tango was Obama being tone-deaf again, but support for President Macri is in our interest.
P.S. You can listen to my show (Canto Talk) and follow me on Twitter.


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Obama trip to Cuba, the tango, Brazil, cartels in Mexico and other stories




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Wednesday, March 30, 2016

RIP Earl Hamner, Jr, creator of "The Waltons"


Who didn't love "The Waltons"?   It was, and still is, a very popular TV program.   

Earl Hamner Jr died today.   He was 92 and the creator of the TV series.   The series was inspired by his childhood memories of The Great Depression.

RIP Mr Hamner!

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Wednesday's tweets from Telesur, Brazil, Alaska, Cubans and CNN Townhall




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Happy # 71 Eric Clapton....





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Israel Ortega writes about the trip to Cuba

My friend Israel Ortega has written a great article about President Obama's trip to Cuba.   Here is the full article:



Barack Obama is making history this week by becoming the first sitting U.S. president to visit the island of Cuba in nearly nine decades. This despite the fact that when Obama ran for president in 2008, he insistedthat normalizing relations with Cuba would require the “liberation of all political prisoners and some basic steps toward freedom, including freedom of the press, political parties, labor unions, etc.”
Sadly, none of this happened. Yet normalization efforts with the Communist island continue apace.
The White House is portraying the visit as a way to bolster freedom, prosperity and democracy on the island. But here are five reasons why the president’s visit are not our country’s best interests:

1 
Cuba Provides Safe Refuge to American Fugitives

Precise numbers are scarce, but there is no denying that Cuba has been providing refuge to American fugitives for decades. According to Ana Quintana, Policy Analyst for Latin America at the Heritage Foundation, among the fugitives living on the island include Guillermo Morales, a member of a Puerto Rican separatist group who tried to bomb a U.S. military installation, and JoAnne Chesimard, a member of the Black Panther Party and the Black Liberation Army who was convicted of murdering a New Jersey state trooper.

2 
Cuba’s Chummy Relationship with North Korea

A few years ago, a routine inspection at the Panama Canal uncovered a Cuban Hellfire missile bound for North Korea. The Cuban government later tried to play down the discovery, saying that the missile wasobsolete and was headed to North Korea for routine repairs. It’s more likely that Cuba was trying to help the Hermit Kingdom evade U.N. sanctions. During a recent visit to Havana, North Korea’s foreign minister conveyed a message from Kim Jong-Un that he looks forward “to expand[ing] and strengthen [ing]” the excellent relations between the two countries.
By the way, North Korea is the same country that celebrates “Hate America” month.

3 
Cuba is BFFs with Iran

As if being close to North Korea weren’t bad enough, Cuba is also friendly with Iran — the same country that does not recognize the state of Israel and whose supreme leader recently took to Twitter to call for itsannihilation.. There are reports that Iran is working with Venezuela to export its vicious ideology to the Western Hemisphere by strengthening ties with Cuba.

4 
Turning a Blind Eye to Attacks on Religious Freedom

According to Cato Institute senior fellow Doug Bandow, Cuba has been ramping up its attacks on churches and believers of all faiths and denominations. Citing a report by the Christian Solidarity Worldwide, Bandow recounts how “there were 220 specific violations of religious liberties in 2014, but 2,300 last year,” many of which “involved entire churches or, in the cases of arrests, dozens of victims.”
By visiting the communist island, Obama is legitimizing the same Communist regime that is systematically persecuting people of faith and terrorizing places of worship.

5 
Cuba’s Human Rights Abuses Are Absolutely Awful

Like the attacks on religious freedom, independent observers, including Human Rights Watch portray a vicious picture when it comes to human rights on the Communist island. According to a recent report: “The Cuban government continues to repress dissent and discourage public criticism. While in recent years it has relied less on long-term prison sentences to punish its critics, short-term arbitrary arrests of human rights defenders, independent journalists, and other critics have increased dramatically.”
In fact, just a few short months ago, the Castro regime imprisoned around 100 peaceful protesters in the island on Human Rights Day. The imagesare chilling.
It is sad that one of the lasting legacies of the Obama administration will be to help prop up a Communist regime that embodies the opposite of all America holds dear, including human rights, religious freedom, democracy and economic freedom.
***Israel Ortega is a Senior Writer for Opportunity Lives. You can follow him on Twitter @IzzyOrtega.


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How much is Trump’s immigration approach going to cost or work?



Let me assure you that I hate illegal immigration as much as Mr. Trump. Illegal immigration mocks the rule of law, from the employer taking advantage of his competitors with cheap labor to document fraud to a border that is a national security concern. In other words, it is a bad system that we’ve allowed to get out of control.   
Donald Trump proposes deporting people. He has not really explained how he would do it but my friend Israel Ortega believes that it will expand government a lot:
Start with Trump’s call to forcibly deport an estimated 11-12 million illegal immigrants, including children and the elderly. When pressed on specifics, Trump says he intends to do deport people humanely and orderly. But even taking this statement at face value, Trump is proposing nothing less than the creation of the largest police state in our history. As the scholars at the American Action Forum have recently pointed out, the federal government would need to spend from $400 to $600 billion over 20 years to remove the current undocumented population. Of course, that number is subject to change considering the scant exact numbers of a population largely living in the shadows.
The AAF study also estimates that in order to prevent future illegal immigration, the federal government would need to commit to an additional $315 billion toward border security over the same period.
Trump tells us that a country needs borders and he is correct. He says that people should respect our immigration laws and he is correct again.   
However, there are smarter ways to fix the problem than exploiting our fears.   
Go ahead and build the fence. It will actually help both sides, even if the Mexican political class does not admit it publicly.   
Go after employers and make it really costly to hire someone without papers. Send repeat employers offenders to jail and you will see illegal immigration stop very fast.  
Finally, offer people here a guest worker visa that allows them to work. It would not be not a path to citizenship and  would require be renewal from time to time based on our economic needs. It makes more economic sense, as Israel Ortega explains in the aforementioned article, than having police officers drag out women and children from their homes.   
 
Illegal immigration is bad and I repeat that Mr. Trump is right. However, proposing real solutions is what we expect from our leaders. Sorry, but we are not hearing any real world solutions from Mr. Trump.
P.S. You can listen to my show (Canto Talk) and follow me on Twitter.


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A chat with Israel Ortega about immigration, Trump and the 2016 election





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Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Tuesday's tweets: Obama Care. Obama tango & Trump polls






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RIP Patty Duke (1946-2016)



We just learned that Patty Duke died at age 69.   She was a very popular TV star in the 1960s, specially with our sisters who tuned in every week to catch up with her antics.   
She was very talented and worked on many other movies as well.

RIP Patty Duke!

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Mexicans taking Trump way too seriously


For the record, I am not a Trump supporter. However, I do think that Mexicans are taking the businessman way too seriously.
Let’s start with former President Vicente Fox who uses the F-word more often than the Democrats play the race card. Does Mr. Fox seriously think that anybody cares, including Mexicans in the U.S., what he thinks?
Let’s go down to Mexico. We just learned that some Mexicans burned figures of Trump for Easter, as reported by Caitlin Yilek:
Mexicans celebrated Holy Week with the annual tradition of setting fire to their Judases.  
This year, that meant lighting replicas of Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump ablaze. 
The demons in the ritual are usually forked-tongue devils, flaming dragons and politicians, according to The Washington Post. The burning symbolizes the destruction of evil. 
“For Latinos here and in the U.S., [Donald Trump is] a danger, a real threat,” Leonardo Linares told The Washington Post
“He’s a good man to burn as a Judas,” Linares added about his Trump effigy. 
Trump has repeatedly threatened throughout his presidential campaign to build a wall at the U.S.-Mexico border and make Mexico pay for it. 
When Trump announced his candidacy in June, he infamously referred to undocumented immigrants from Mexico as “rapists” and “criminals.” 
Let the figures burn. Let many Mexicans get their kicks and enjoy the Trump-bashing. Unfortunately, Mexico has a lot bigger problems than Trump.
 
First, most Mexicans feel very disconnected from the political class, not much different than up here. You will hear the same complaints from Mexicans about politicians that you hear at a Trump rally. People on both sides of the border feel let down by the political class.  
 
With respect to NAFTA, Mexicans of all socioeconomic levels tell me that the agreement has been great for large retailers, like WalMart, but has put thousands of shops and small retailers about business. And they also complain about cheap Chinese goods on the shelf! Last December, Richard Patten wrote this about NAFTA:
“Mexican manufacturing — e.g., of farm implements — was wiped out. Real Mexican wage levels in general have declined since NAFTA and 20 million Mexicans now live in food poverty. With the Mexican economy, largely rural, decimated, it became more dependent on the trade of drugs into the United States. The drug cartel money and power now reaches into Mexican government and police — as seen in the massacre of 43 students in Iguala, south of Mexico City.
I think that Mr. Patten is a bit too negative. However, his point of view represents a growing resentment in Mexico about free trade agreements that hurt workers, not much different than we hear up here.
Second, the Mexican economy is still a bit too uneven. In fact, the question south of the border whether or not the economy will benefit enough Mexicans, as Nathaniel Parrish Flannery wrote recently:
Mexico is the second-largest economy in Latin America, just after Brazil. With 122 million residents, Mexico has about the same number of potential customers as Spain, France and Portugal combined. The challenge for retailers, however, is that for all the talk of Mexico’s emerging middle class, just under half the country’s population still lives below the poverty line.
Modern Mexico is a deeply divided economy. In all, there are more than 145,000 individuals in Mexico each with a net worth over $1 million dollars, (not including the value of their primary residence.) The rest of the economy is in much worse shape. While the wealthiest 10% of households earn an average of just over $33,000 dollars a year, the next wealthiest income bracket earns less than half as much.
Third, the cartels are making life miserable for everyone, from the innocent people caught up in gang fights to police departments under siege from the millions of dollars that the cartels are willing to spend for bribes. It is making Mexico ungovernable, specially the border areas literally run by cartels. My Mexican friends continue to tell me that they’d love to see a U.S. president who tackles illegal drug consumption or the source for billions of dollars going south every year.
Here is the reality: the election of Trump will have little impact on Mexico. Mexico’s structural problems will not be impacted one way or another. Furthermore, # 45, whether it’s Trump or anyone else, will be consumed with foreign policy problems and Mexico is not on that list of urgencies.
Trump is a great distraction and not much more for people south of the border.
P.S. You can listen to my show (Canto Talk) and follow me on Twitter.

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Belgium and the growing threat to Europe & the US with Barry Jacobsen




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Monday, March 28, 2016

Monday's tweets: Obama in Cuba!




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Happy # 72 to Denny McLain


We say happy # 72 to Denny McLain, the last 30-game winner in major league history.

He was a very good pitcher for the Tigers winning 108 games over 5 years.    His career took a bad turn in 1970 and was out of baseball by 1972.

In 1968, he had one great season:  31-6, 1.96 ERA, 28 complete games and 6 shutouts.   He also took the Tigers to the World Series but it was Mickey Lolich who won 3 games and the MVP against the Cardinals.   He won his 30th game on national TV in mid-September.

His durability was incredible:  1,380 innings pitched and 88 complete games over the aforementioned five seasons.

He was a workhorse to say the least!    I remember watching him on TV and loved his classic windup.     A few years ago, I read this book:



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We have not seen anything like this since the Iran‐Iraq War



A year ago, we were sitting around looking at the GOP presidential field and asking a simple question: How can I select someone from this incredibly talented group?  
You had very successful governors, like Bush in Florida or Christie in New Jersey or Perry in Texas or Kasich in Ohio. I’m talking about successful men who have actually governed big states and won reelection.  
And Walker of Wisconsin who fought back the public sector unions 3 times in 4 years! The left threw everything at Walker and he won each time.   
Add diversity with young senators like Cruz of Texas or Rubio of Florida, or a wonderful man of medicine like Carson.   
And Mrs Fiorina, Jindal, etc.
It was an incredible list and I probably forgot someone! It was that strong of a field!
We are down to Cruz and Trump and maybe Kasich. And no one is happy, especially those of us who want a candidate who can beat Mrs. Clinton. After all, the RCP average is a mixed bag: Clinton + 11 over Trump, a dead heat with Cruz and Kasich up 6 over Clinton!
Worse than polls is watching the Cruz and Trump sides throw nuclear bombs at each other. It is more than pictures about wives. It is like watching mom and dad call each other obscenities in front of the children!
Have you followed the social media war between the Trump and Cruz troops? It’s enough to want to make you blow up Facebook and Twitter.
My friend Melanie Sturm (“Think Again“, the Aspen Times) spoke for so many of us a day ago: 2016’s gonna be a nightmare, believe me.
Yes, it will be a nightmare because we are in a mutual destruction mode, like that war between Iran and Iraq back in the 1980s. Remember that war? It was the war that nobody won:
The protracted war between these neighboring Middle Eastern countries resulted in at least half a million casualties and several billion dollars’ worth of damages, but no real gains by other side. Started by Iraq dictator Saddam Hussein in September 1980, the war was marked by indiscriminate ballistic-missile attacks, extensive use of chemical weapons and attacks on third-country oil tankers in the Persian Gulf. Although Iraq was forced on the strategic defensive, Iran was unable to reconstitute effective armored formations or its air force and could not penetrate Iraq’s borders deeply enough to achieve decisive results. The end came in July 1988 with the acceptance UN Resolution 598.
Who knows what will happen in 2016? I had hoped that we could elect one of those talented governors who had actually governed big states and accomplished something.    
At this point, God only knows what headline we will hear the morning after the election. If Trump wins, my guess is that his supporters will soon learn that running a one-shareholder company is very different than governing the U.S. If Clinton wins, we are back to where we’ve been for the last eight years with the added factor that the left will take over the Supreme Court.
Let’s hope that it works out but it does not look good. In the meantime, the Trump and Cruz sides will soon start dropping chemical bombs on each other! 
P. S. You can listen to my show (Canto Talk) and follow me on Twitter.


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The week in review with Bill Katz, the editor of Urgent Agenda




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Sunday, March 27, 2016

RIP Mother Angelica (1923-2016)


We lost a wonderful lady today.    She was born Rita Rizzo in Canton, Ohio.   In 1944, she entered the Poor Clares of Perpetual Adoration in Cleveland.   In 1981, she was one of the founders of EWTN and a favorite of millions around the world.

RIP Mother Angelica.   Thank you for everything!

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